© Paulo Coelho. Maktub.
Paulo Coelho. Maktub
Dedicated to Nha Chica
"Maktub" means "It is written." The Arabs feel that "It is written" is
not really a good translation, because, although everything is already
written, God is compassionate, and wrote it all down just to help us.
The wanderer is in New York. He has overslept an appointment, and when
he leaves his hotel, he finds that his car has been towed by the police. He
arrives late for his appointment, the luncheon lasts longer than necessary,
and he is thinking about the fine he will have to pay. It will cost a
fortune. Suddenly, he remembers the dollar bill he found in the street the
day before. He sees some kind of weird relationship between the dollar bill
and what happened to him that morning. "Who knows, perhaps I found that
money before the person who was supposed to find it had the chance? Maybe I
removed that dollar bill from the path of someone who really needed it. Who
knows but what I interfered with what was written?" He feels the need to rid
himself of the dollar bill, and at that moment sees a beggar sitting on the
sidewalk. He quickly hands him the bill, and feels that he has restored a
kind of equilibrium to things. "Just a minute," says the beggar. "I'm not
looking for a handout. I'm a poet, and I want to read you a poem in return."
"Well, make it a short one, because I'm in a hurry," says the wanderer. The
beggar says, "If you are still living, it's because you have not yet arrived
at the place you should be."
Think of the lizard. It spends most of its life on the ground, envying
the birds and indignant at its fate and its shape. "I am the most disliked
of all the creatures," it thinks. "Ugly, repulsive, and condemned to crawl
along the ground." One day, though, Mother Nature asks the lizard to make a
cocoon. The lizard is startled -- it has never made a cocoon before. He
thinks that he is building his tomb, and prepares to die. Although unhappy
with the life he has led up until then, he complains to God: "Just when I
finally became accustomed to things, Lord, you take away what little I
have." In desperation, he locks himself into the cocoon and awaits the end.
Some days later, he finds that he has been transformed into a beautiful
butterfly. He is able to fly to the sky, and he is greatly admired. He is
surprised at the meaning of life and at God's designs.
A stranger sought out the Father Superior at the monastery of Sceta. "I
want to make my life better," he said. "But I cannot keep myself from having
sinful thoughts." The father noticed that the wind was blowing briskly
outside, and said to the stranger: "It's quite hot in here. I wonder if you
could seize a bit of that wind outside and bring it here to cool the room."
"That's impossible," the stranger said. "It is also impossible to keep
yourself from thinking of things that offend God," answered the monk. "But,
if you know how to say no to temptation, they will cause you no harm."
The master says: "If a decision needs to be made, it is better to make
it and deal with the consequences. You cannot know beforehand what those
consequences will be. The arts of divination were developed in order to
counsel people, never to predict the future. They provide good advice, but
poor prophecy. "In one of the prayers that Jesus taught us, it says, 'God's
will be done.' When His will causes a problem, it also presents a solution.
If the arts of divination were able to predict the future, every soothsayer
would be wealthy, married and content."
The disciple approached his master: "For years I have been seeking
illumination," he said. "I feel that I am close to achieving it. I need to
know what the next step is." "How do you support yourself?" the master
asked. "I haven't yet learned how to support myself; my parents help me out.
But that is only a detail." "Your next step is to look directly at the sun
for half a minute," said the master. And the disciple obeyed. When the
half-minute was over, the master asked him to describe the field that
surrounded them. "I can't see it. The sun has affected my vision," the
disciple said. "A man who seeks only the light, while shirking his
responsibilities, will never find illumination. And one who keep his eyes
fixed upon the sun ends up blind," was the master's comment.
A man was hiking through a valley in the Pyrenees, when he met an old
shepherd. He shared his food with him, and they sat together for a long
time, talking about life. The man said that, if one believed in God, he
would also have to admit that he was not free, since God would govern every
step. In response, the shepherd led him to a ravine where one could hear --
with absolute clarity -- the echo to any sound. "Life is these walls, and
fate is the shout that each of us makes," said the shepherd. "What we do
will be raised to His heart, and will be returned to us in the same form.
"God acts as the echo of our own deeds."
The master said: "When we sense that the time has come for a change, we
begin -- unconsciously -- to run the tape again, to view every defeat we
have experienced until then. "And, of course, as we grow older, our number
of difficult moments grows larger. But, at the same time, experience
provides us with better means of overcoming those defeats, and of finding
the path that allows us to go forward. We have to play that second tape on
our mental VCR, too. "If we only watch the tape of our defeats, we become
paralyzed. If we only watch the tape of our successes, we wind up thinking
we are wiser than we really are. "We need both of those tapes."
The disciple said to his master: "I have spent most of the day thinking
about things I should not be thinking about, desiring things I should not
desire and making plans I should not be making." The master invited the
disciple to take a walk with him through the forest behind his house. Along
the way, he pointed to a plant, and asked the disciple if he knew its name.
"Belladonna," said the disciple. "It can kill anyone who eats its leaves."
"But it cannot kill anyone who simply observes it," said the master.
"Likewise, negative desires can cause no evil if you do not allow yourself
to be seduced by them."
Between France and Spain is a range of mountains. In one of those
mountains, there is a village named Argeles, and in the village is a hill
leading to the valley. Every afternoon, an old man climbs and descends the
hill. When the wanderer went to Argeles for the first time, he was not aware
of this. On his second visit, he noticed that he crossed paths with the same
man. And every time he went to the village, he perceived the man in greater
detail -- his clothing, his beret, his cane, his glasses. Nowadays, whenever
he thinks about that village, he thinks of the old man, as well -- even
though he is not aware that this is true. Only once did the wanderer ever
speak to the man. In a joking fashion, he asked the man, "Do you think that
God lives in these beautiful mountains surrounding us?" "God lives," said
the old man, "in those places where they allow Him to enter."
The master met one night with his disciples, and asked them to build a
campfire so they could sit and talk. "The spiritual path is like a fire that
burns before us," he said. "A man who wants to light the fire has to bear
with the disagreeable smoke that makes it difficult for him to breathe, and
brings tears to his eyes. That is how his faith is rediscovered. However,
once the fire is rekindled, the smoke disappears, and the flames illuminate
everything around him -- providing heat and tranquility." "But what if
someone else lights the fire for him?" asked one of the disciples. "And if
someone helps us to avoid the smoke?" "If someone does that, he is a false
master. A master capable of taking the fire to wherever he desires, or of
extinguishing it whenever he wants to do so. And, since he has taught no one
how to light the fire, he is likely to leave everyone in the darkness."
"When you strike out along your path, you will find a door with a
phrase written upon it," says the master. "Come back to me, and tell me what
the phrase says." The disciple gives himself to the search, body and soul,
and one day comes upon the door, and then returns to his master. "What was
written there was 'THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE,' he says." "Was that written on a
wall or on a door?" the master asks. "On a door," the disciple answers.
"Well, then, put your hand on the doorknob and open it." The disciple
obeyed. Since the phrase was painted with the door, it gave way just as the
door itself did. With the door completely open, he could no longer see the
phrase -- and he went on.
The master says: "Close your eyes. Or even with your eyes open, imagine
the following scene: a flock of birds on the wing. Now, tell me how many
birds you saw: Five? Eleven? Sixteen? Whatever the response -- and it is
difficult for someone to say how many birds were seen -- one thing becomes
quite clear in this small experiment. You can imagine a flock of birds, but
the number of birds in the flock is beyond your control. Yet the scene was
clear, well-defined, exact. There must be an answer to the question. Who was
it that determined how many birds should appear in the imagined scene? Not
A man decided to visit a hermit who, he had been told, lived not far
from the monastery at Sceta. After wandering aimlessly about the desert, he
finally found the monk. "I need to know what is the first step that should
be taken along the spiritual path," he said. The hermit took the man to a
small well, and told him to look at his reflection in the water. The man
tried to do so, but as he made his attempt, the hermit threw pebbles into
the water, causing the surface to be disturbed. "I won't be able to see my
face in the water if you keep throwing those pebbles," said the man. "Just
as it is impossible for a man to see his face in
Пауло Коэльо. Мактуб (engl)